Digital Village Radio October - December 1997 Programs
12/27/97Jon Katz & the Digital Citizen. Earlier this year, Jon Katz wrote an essay in Wired Magazine about his idea of the Digital Nation. It's citizens represented a new, growing economic and political base who's concerns were largely being ignored. Well, Merrill Lynch and Wired read this and saw a large potential market, so together (and without Mr. Katz' knowledge or participation) they commissioned well known conservative pollster Frank Luntz to conduct a survey and see who these people are. Jon wrote Wired's December cover story about the results of the poll. He joined us by phone today to talk about many things, including the poll and it's sometimes surprising results.
12/20/97Technostress. Our guests today were Michelle M. Weil, Ph.D and Larry D. Rosen, Ph.D., authors of Technostress, a book which explores how the gadgets designed to "make life easier" often seem to do just the opposite.
12/13/97Liquid Audio. Many 'net surfers are familiar with the concept of streaming media, such as RealAudio or IWave. Our guest today was Ruth Columbo of Liquid Audio, a company taking things in a slightly different direction. Instead of focusing on the streaming delivery of live or real-time audio, they use streaming technology as a way to "demo" or sample a product. Then, if you like what you here, you can order the entire selection and have it downloaded to your computer. That CD quality audio can then be played from your own computer's hard drive. If you have a CD ROM recorder, which are dropping in price dramatically, you can then transfer it to a CD and play it anywhere, just like a regular audio CD can be played. The software used to record the music also uses techniques such as encryption and watermarking to protect the copyright of the song. This means small (or no) label musicians can make their music available to the millions of people on the Internet, just like the big guys, without having to pay for the costs of manufacturing and shipping the physical CDs and cases. In fact, the Internet Underground Music Archives (IUMA) has chosen Liquid Audio as their medium of choice when it comes to audio delivery.
During the first half, we spoke with Judy Han of L.A. Culture Net who was at today's Webraising at the Puente Learning Center. These monthly Webraisings are meant to make the Internet available to members of the community who may not have considered it or who thought it was too difficult. Today's WebRaising was geared toward beginners, giving them the knowledge needed to establish a presence on the Internet. Consider it a celebration. Today you have new neighbors.
We also spoke with David Jensen of the Getty Information Institute. The city's landmark new museum will have a Digital Experience room in its West Pavilion, offering 14 networked computers and access to programs such as their 15 minute Adventures in Cyberspace tutorial for beginners, as well as culture tours and ongoing workshops.
11/29/97The I Ching on a PC. As a holiday special we aired an edition of New Dimensions Radio in which host Michael Toms interviewed Paul O'Brien of Visionary Networks. The company has just released a CD ROM version of the I Ching. They talked about the history and use of the I Ching and how it is (surprisingly) well suited for use on a computer.
11/22/97Typography and the Web - GII Awards. Typography is one area of web page design that has been overlooked by way too many people on the 'net. But it's importance cannot be overemphasized. Even with all the images and (now) sound, the Internet, in large part, is text. Which is to say most of the information on the 'net is conveyed visually through words. A good designer must be aware of this at all times when designing a site.
Our two guests today certainly are aware of the importance of typography and it's role in communicating ideas. Raymond Pirouz, author of Click Here and Lynda Weinman, author of many books, including Designing Web Graphics, told us many of the considerations they have when choosing fonts for a web site.
While HTML has provided only a limited amount of typeface control is the past, that is changing as new technologies such as Cascading Style Sheets and Embedded fonts begin to take hold. That said, Raymond suggests that the current limits may actually be a good thing, forcing a certain discipline and restraint upon the person designing the site.
During the first half of the program, we spoke with James Hake, Chairman of the Global Information Infrastructure Awards. Its call for entries ends this Tuesday, so he encourages listeners to submit their choices now. With awards in 10 categories (including 3 new categories this year), the GII awards are among the highest profile and most prestigious with in Internet community.
During the first half of the show we were joined by Audrie Krause of NetAction. She was at Ralph Nader's Appraising Microsoft conference in Washington D.C. this week and told us that, despite other media reports, there were useful discussions on the impact of Microsoft's dominance in the marketplace.
11/8/97David Siegel. What does it take to create a successful web site? Home page hackers have been asking that question for years. But now that businesses large and small are moving onto the 'net in a big way, it's becoming a question asked by entrepreneurs at home and executives in the board room. Our guest today, David Siegel wrote the book on Creating Killer Web Sites. With his new book The Secrets of Creating Successful Web Sites he discusses many of the elements that are needed as the Web is used not only for information and entertainment, but also for exchange. David also explores this in depth in his online essay The Balkanization of the Web. His primary advice though, when asked what somebody can do to make their site stand out, is to seek professionals who know what they are doing, just as you would when dealing with other media.
11/1/97William Gibson. In the early '80s, there was a writer who wrote of an electronic "Matrix" within which existed cyberspace. The book was Neuromancer and the writer was William Gibson, who joined us today by phone. Since then he has written many books, including his latest, Idoru.
10/18/97Fall Fund Drive. This week we spent the majority of the show raising money for KPFK. As always, our deepest thanks to all of you who called and made a pledge. Once again, your response was phenomenal, with Digital Village raising nearly 150% of our goal.
10/4/97Seybold '97 Update. This week Ric ventured to the wilds of San Francisco to attend Seybold '97 which touts itself as "the most comprehensive and respected gathering of Internet and print-based publishing experts in the world." Unfortunately with all those "experts" comes hype (Bill Gates: "XML -- Data the way you want it."), but still no promise of a standard we can actually use; exploitation (Steve Jobs showing us the new Apple TV ads in which half the heroes of the 20th Century are turned into hucksters), but still no promise for the digital future other than the 1984-ish cliche: "trust us;" and blatant salesmanship (most of the conference speakers turned their stint at the podium into a chance to plug their company's product rather than share any insight into how to best merge the media), but still no print/internet innovations other than a few nifty new software and device updates and a renewed dedication to that old warhorse, PDF.